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Former EY partner struck off by second institute

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23rd Jul 2012
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The Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) has struck off a former Ernst & Young partner “as a formality” after the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) found him guilty of fraud.

Eamonn Joseph Rice formerly led the 100-strong financial services practice at Ernst & Young Scotland and Northern Ireland, but ran into financial difficulty when his online mortgages company, Mform, collapsed in February 2009.

He then fraudulently prepared a letter for his lenders in an attempt to prevent the Bank of Scotland from repossessing his home in Edinburgh. According to The Herald he went on to lose the house, but no criminal charges were ever brought against him.

In May 2011 the ICAS disciplinary tribunal found Rice guilty of professional misconduct in that he had fraudulently prepared a letter which was purported to be signed by the joint administrator of Mform Holdings.

According to the official findings the letter misrepresented the likelihood of a dividend being paid to Rice as an unsecured creditor in the administration of the company. Thereafter, he provided a copy of the fraudulent letter to solicitors acting for his bank in an attempt to have the bank stay court proceedings against him.

Peter Anderson, the chairman of the ICAS disciplinary tribunal, said: “Mr Rice’s actions were considered seriously reprehensible and fell well below the standards expected by the public and the profession of a Chartered Accountant.

“In the Tribunal’s view the qualities of honesty and integrity were essential in a Chartered Accountant who had to be completely trustworthy. Accordingly in light of the serious view taken of Mr Rice’s conduct, the Tribunal determined that the only finding it could reach which satisfactorily met Mr Rice’s conduct was that he be expelled from the Institute.”

The appeal tribunal dismissed Rice’s appeal that the decision of the discipline tribunal was manifestly excessive and directed that the May 2011 decision be upheld.

In addition the Edinburgh accountant was ordered to pay costs of £5,000 following the tribunal hearing.

The most recent expulsion was made at a disciplinary tribunal of CAI's Chartered Accountants Regulatory Board on 9 May and announced last month. The board also reprimanded Rice because he was personally sequestrated in Scotland, and ordered him to pay €5,529 (£4,318) towards its costs.

Rice originally qualified as an accountant in 1985 and headed E&Y Scotland between 2002 and 2005. Prior to that was a financial services partner with PwC and Arthur Andersen.

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By HUGH W DUNLOP
25th Jul 2012 13:39

E J Rice

I could be mistaken, but I seem to have heard that Mr Rice has started some sort of consultancy business in Edinburgh. I think this was recently published in the Herald or the Scotsman.

Is this ethical without disclosing his history of misdemeanors?

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